Back to looking at possible/likely Indianapolis Indians for 2007
JOHN VAN BENSCHOTEN
born 4/14/1980� in San Diego, California
ht: 6′ 4″��� wt: 215 lb.������ B: right����� T: right
Van Benschoten ( pronounced Van BEN-sko-tin) was the Pirates’ first round draft choice in 2001.� Like Brad Eldred, Van Benschoten was a hitter in his college career, at Kent State University.� In 2001, he was named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, as he led the conference with 31 HR’s,�99 hits, and 84 RBI.� Unlike Eldred, Van Benschoten opted to concentrate on pitching.� He started his professional career in 2001 with Williamsport.� While his record was 0 – 2 in 9 starts with a 3.51 ERA, he gave up 23 hits and only 10 walks, with 19 strikeouts in 25.2 innings.� He advanced to Hickory for 2002, where his record was 11 – 4, including winning 8 of his last 10 starts.� He earned a 2.80 ERA in 148.o innings, giving up 119 hits and 62 walks� (1.22 WHIP), with 145 strikeouts.� Van Benschoten started 2003 in Lynchburg, where he won 6 games (no losses) in 9 starts and struck out 49 in 48.2 innings.� He was promoted to Altoona, where he started 17 games to earn a 7 – 6 record, and a 3.69 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 78 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.� He also participated in the 2003 All-Star Futures game.� He struggled more in 2004 with Nashville (AAA), earning a 4 – 11 record, with 4.72 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.� He was promoted to the Pirates and made his MLB debut on August 18, 2004.� In 5 starts and one relief appearance for the Pirates, his record was 1 – 3, with 6.91 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts.� He didn’t totally forget how to hit, though — his first major league hit was a home run.� Van Benschoten missed the entire 2005 season and most of the 2006 season after having surgery on both shoulders in 2005.�
Van Benschoten was able to return to pitching in August 2006.� His first game was with the GCL Pirates, where he pitched 6 innings, giving up one hit, 2 walks, and struck out 4.� His next start was with Altoona, where he pitched 5 innings, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 3.� He got his first AAA start in Indianapolis on August 19th, when he earned the win by scattering 2 hits and two walks over 6 innings, with 5 strikeouts.� He made a total of 3 starts for the Indians, earning a 1-1 record, with 5.40 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 11.2 innings, with 7 runs and 13 strikeouts.
In spring training, Van Benschoten has been reported to have some good early throwing sessions.� However, his first game appearance yesterday did not go as well as hoped.� He didn’t start, but came into the game in the 8th inning (not exactly “relief”, during spring training), and only lasted 1/3 of an inning.� He gave up two hits and two walks, giving up three runs to take the loss.� Of course, this is only one game, and there are four weeks of spring training still�to come, so let’s not give up on Johnny V just yet.��Having pitched so little last season though, it is not likely that Van Benschoten will start the 2007 with the Pirates.� We can expect to see him here with the Indians, where he can really test his shoulder over many starts.
Not a true live blog today, but I’ll give a few thoughts as I listen to the game off and on: Homer Bailey’s on the hill today for the Reds. Give the kid the fifth starter’s job. He, Arroyo and Harang will be a solid triumvirate next year. Shawn Chacon for the Bucs: Don’t give him the fifth starter’s job. The lineups for the “A” game (the teams played an abbreviated “B” squad game...
First, let me start with some blog business by welcoming Tony Ferrante to the MVN baseball staff. You may be familiar with his work at The Confluence, which has also made the switch to Most Valuable Network. His opinions will be a fine addition to the Pittsburgh Lumber Co. Now, on to the baseball. Same as the past few days: You can find the transcript of my live blog here, Dejans story at the Post-Gazette here and the motherships...
What’s up everyone. Great to be on board with Cory and Randy. Bucs’ fans received the best news since the LaRoche trade recently. Tim Schuldt, the Bucs’ chief marketing and sales director, resigned to take a similar position with Motorsports Authentics in Charlotte, N.C. Schuldt’s department was responsible for such marketing slogan doozy’s such as last year’s “We Will” and 2005′s...
Final score: New York 4, Pittsburgh 3. If youre reading the log after the conclusion of the game, youre going to want to start from the bottom and scroll to the top. Ill provide a recap later tonight. 3:45: Bautista pops to Cannizaro at second. Veras works the count to 0-2 on Kelly. Don flies out to Thompson in right-center to end the game. Another heartbreaker for the Bucs. 3:43: Doumit doubles into the gap, and de Caster is held...
There’s enough info on McCutchen to write a decent-sized book, so I’ll play the role of gatherer and bring it all together for you. I won’t pretend to know more than the average fan (although I’ll do something most Pittsburghers won’t when I track Andrew down at Altoona this April):
From The Baseball Cube:
D.O.B.: October 10, 1986
5’11″, 175 lbs.
Draft: 1st round (11th overall), 2005
Wikipedia on McCutchen‘s 2006 season:
The start of 2006, saw Andrew attend his first major league spring training with the Pirates in Bradenton, FL. After spring training, McCutchen was sent to the Pirates Low Single-A affliate, the Hickory Crawdads. He hit … and was selected for the league’s All-Star game along with fellow Pirates’ prospects Brent Lillibridge and Brad Corley.
On August 15, 2006, Andrew was promoted to the Double-A Altoona Curve of the Eastern League in Altoona, PA. He was even more dominate in Double-A than in Low Single-A, which is surprising considering he skipped the Pirates’ Hi-A Lynchburg Hillcats squad. McCutchen was the youngest player to ever play for the Curve at the age of 19. Upon arriving in Altoona, he hit a homerun in his first home game for the Curve.
On September 30, he was named the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year along with Tom Gorzelanny, who won Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Andrew was also unanimously selected by scouts and managers as the #1 Prospect in the South Atlantic League.
McCutchen was considered one of the strongest tools players in the 2005 draft. He’s very fast and a legitimate CF with a good arm. He’s not just a tools guy, though, as he was considered very advanced and possibly close to the majors for a HS prospect. The two possible drawbacks with him were questions about his power and the fact that he faced weak competition in HS. He hit for more power than expected during the 2005 HS season, however, and could have moderate power in the majors, although that issue will continue to linger due to his size.
It hasn?t taken Andrew McCutchen, who is now 20, long to realize his potential at all. The centerfielder is an exciting athlete that does a great job of finding his way onto the base paths (career OBP: .377). McCutchen also keeps developing as a power threat as his slugging percentage has increased as he advances to each higher level. He will continue to develop at a rapid pace and Pirates fans should get ready to hear Andrew McCutchen?s name being announced as the team?s starting center fielder as early as this coming September.
McCutchen himself (via MinorLeagueBaseball.com):
“The coaches and [Pirates manager] Jim Tracy know I’m a pretty good baseball player,” McCutchen said. “I still go out there and treat every day like it’s a game of baseball. I don’t look at the level of baseball. I just look at baseball in itself. There might be some things I might have to work on at the time … but they know that I can adjust.”
Things such as learning different pitchers’ and catchers’ timing, which McCutchen agreed would come with age and experience.
“I’m kind of like a baby, just growing up and trying to learn,” he said. “I’m sure when I get it down, I’ll be stealing bases like it’s nothing.
“There’s no pressure on me now, I’m just going out there, and I’m having even more fun than last year.”
And, of course, my analysis of his 2007 Grapefruit League debut:
You can?t ask for much more from a top prospect. He led off for the Pirates and hit a homer on the third pitch he saw. In his next at bat, he doubled into the gap. Cutch finished the day at 2 for 4, and will get a long look this spring before opening the year with Double A Altoona.
So this September, the Pirates’ outfield will be infused with speed, power and defense. I can’t wait.